Loading Notifications...

Alex Honnold free solos Freerider, El Capitan

Alex Honnold has become the first climber to free solo El Capitan in Yosemite, by climbing Freerider. On 3rd June 2017, Honnold left all ropes and gear at the bottom of the 3000ft monolith and began climbing at 5:32am, topping out in 3 hours and 56 minutes. This ascent marks the pinnacle so far of Honnold's breathtaking CV, and is undoubtedly one of the most significant ascents in the history of the sport.

Honnold has been working Freerider since last Autumn, climbing it countless times in preparation. The route was the obvious choice for a solo ascent, being the 'easiest' way to free climb on El Cap, at 5.12d (equivalent to f7c/+). Freerider features some noteworth pitches; 'The Monster Offwidth' - a miserable wide crack that has been known to break people and 'The Boulder Problem' pitch which is the crux of the entire route and is essentially one hard move off a tiny handhold.

Honnold flew to fame within the climbing world in 2008, with his solo of Moonlight Buttress in Zion. He went on to top this with a solo ascent of Half-Dome, where there is an iconic image of him standing on the 'Thank God Ledge' looking outwards. Perhaps Honnold's most significant escapade to date was the 'Triple Crown,' where he soloed the three biggest walls in Yosemite, climbing free and using aid.

We tracked down Pete Whittaker, who rope-soloed Freerider last November for a comment on Honnold's ascent and all we could get out of him was: "Holy shit sticks!"

We'll be in touch with Alex shortly to ask him about his ascent.

El Capitan, Yosemite  © ChrisJD
El Capitan, Yosemite
© ChrisJD, Oct 2006

Glad/relieved/inspired to hear that @alexhonnold managed his solo of El Cap yesterday. After bumping into him/filmers last November, at the top and bottom of Freerider, I was genuinely quite worried for him (even though we've only spoken a couple of times) as I knew it was only a matter of time before he gave it ago. I remember a quote from from one of the Reel Rock films from someone saying 'it's hard to wrap you head around what Honnold does', This ascent will surely bend people's minds. I'm sure the ascent won't inspire people to go and freesolo on El Cap, but it should inspire people to go out and complete their own goals at whatever level. Like in any sport, rather than the achievement itself, I'm more inspired by the months of unseen effort/preparation/training that lies behind the achievement. Like @tommycaldwell and @kjorgeson with Dawn Wall. @adam.ondra with Dura Dura, in other sports Usain Bolt completing the Olympic Triple, triple gold (triple gold, in three consecutive Olympics). People really only ever see the end product and forget/don't understand what actually goes into it. It's great to see that Alex's months/years of preparation have paid off and he managed to execute his lifetime goal with perfect precision (and a bloody good job he did as well). What a fantastic effort :) Photo (c) Jeff Johnson: two pitches from the top of Freerider (with a rope of course ;) ) back in 2014 @natgeo @natgeoadventure #natgeo #climbing #goals

A post shared by PETE WHITTAKER (@petewhittaker01) on

VIDEO: Alex Honnold solo on Mount Watkins, the first route of the Triple Crown:


This post has been read 71,439 times

Return to Latest News


Support UKC

We need your help.

UKClimbing is a vibrant web site with rich content and an amazing community. So far, all we've asked of you is that you visit and interact with the site but we are in uncertain times. We need to look at ways to keep the site moving forward whilst maintaining our key aim of allowing free access to everyone to our main content. The site will continue to be mainly funded by a subtle level of outdoor-only advertising but we now need extra support to ensure we can continue to provide the UKC that we all know and love.

You can help us by becoming a UKC Supporter. This can be in a small way or in a larger package that includes discounted products from our sister-publishing company Rockfax.

If you appreciate UKClimbing then please help us by becoming a UKC Supporter.

UKC Supporter

  • Support the website we all know and love
  • Access to a year's subscription to the Rockfax App.
  • 30% off Rockfax guidebooks
  • Show your support UKC Supporter badge on your profile and forum posts

3 Jun, 2017
Simply incredible. What could he actually do next?
3 Jun, 2017
I don't usually comment on achievement threads like this, as a thread full of congratulatory emptiness gets pretty dull very quickly. But in this case ... WOW! Chapeau Mr. Honnold.
3 Jun, 2017
I don't actually agree with soloing as a discipline....but when something like this happens you'd have to be made of stone not feel hugely impressed and proud of the pinnacle of the sport we love.
3 Jun, 2017
I solo the odd VDiff at stanage so obviously me and Alex have a lot in common but even so I'm impressed. ;) Seriously though that is mind blowing. Does anyone know what the maximum grade he has lead on trad/sport? I'd be interested to know.
3 Jun, 2017
Somebody on reddit said 5.14c sport, so 8c+. So respectable but nowt special - as he himself also frequently says in interviews.
More Comments
Facebook Twitter Email LinkedIn Pinterest